spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

2, count ’em, 2 years of blogging under my belt

on July 23, 2016

I wrote this on 7/23/15:

Here’s a time capsule paragraph for when we look back at this post 1 year from now…

My family and I are less than 100 days away from my little boy’s 1st trip to WDW, and I’m putting the finishing touches on the planning spreadsheet as I get ready to make FP+ reservations.  Our next big trip will be to the East Coast in November 2016 for my daughter’s Quinceañera- planning on using miles for that, so expect blog postings re: redemptions beginning in December 2015.  I may try to sneak in a Neighbor Island trip in the spring, too, because I can’t bear the thought of a year going by without setting foot on a plane.  And we’re definitely due for a Europe trip within the next 2 years.  I will continue to accumulate as many miles and points as possible to make it easier to show my kids the world!

Breaking this down point by point…
Well, we all know how that trip went!  Super, super, super fun!  Additionally, we booked our fares to the Quinceañera using miles, just as predicted.  Re: the “Neighbor Island trip for the spring”… that morphed into a full-blown East Coast vs West Coast gangsta rap-style war, and has since been hugely downgraded to practically nothing, sigh (explanation to follow).  Europe 2018 is still definitely on, though.  And, of course, I’m still accumulating miles and points like a boss.

So what’s doing for 2017?  It’s been about a month since my last post, and during that time, we bought a car and booked an international trip for August 2016!


So we have 2 cars, which my daughter named Bob and Petunia many years ago.  Both are 1997s; Bob was my husband’s car and Petunia is mine.  Bob was…less than aesthetically pleasing, but his engine and passing gear were top-notch, so my husband didn’t mind the non-functioning AC and radio, torn upholstery, wonky driver’s side window track, broken key fob, dented door, and musty smell from the cracked seal which had allowed rainwater to leak into the trunk several times.  That man is a saint, I tell you.  But when Bob’s bumper fell off in the middle of Liliha Street, we knew Bob’s time had come.  We did a bunch of research, and ultimately wound up buying a late-model Chevy Sonic from Hertz Car Sales.  Yes, the rental car people!  They retire a fleet every few years, and put them up for sale.  You can rent it for a 3-day test drive, and the rental fee is waived if you decide to purchase.  There is no haggling, and the cars are as-is, though they are obligated to fix any safety-related issues before giving you your car.  It was a great experience.  They replaced a cracked taillight, which was really the only thing wrong with the car.  He has been christened Moe.  They don’t take trade-ins though, so we sold Bob to a used-car dealership who will no doubt dismantle him for parts.  RIP Bob.  Hello, car loan.  Ugh, I hate owing people money, and I double-hate paying interest.

I have had a health issue that I knew would need a surgical repair sooner or later.  Turns out, it’s sooner.  Also turns out, because I may look marginally better afterwards, my insurance considers it cosmetic and it is not covered.  The issue limits some forms of exercise, but because I haven’t let it stop me from living an active lifestyle, and am not obese, I’m not sick enough to have it covered.  Ah, well.  So, I had actually consulted with a surgeon re: this procedure when we did our family trip to Ecuador.  He gave me a flat price, and, after taking the last 6 months to consider all my options, we’ve decided I’m going to Ecuador for a few weeks to have the surgery this August.  This is a good thing for my health.  My superhero husband will be holding down the fort here since the kids will already be in school, my amazing mother will meet me in Ecuador for the whole shebang, and my awesome family in Guayaquil are busy making arrangements for my comfort as I recover.  I will be stopping in NJ for 2 nights on the way home, to break up the travel and stay clear of  post-surgical blood clots.  This stop also gives me the chance to imprint my face into my niece’s memory banks so she recognizes me again come November, and also squeeze her irresistibly clever face/cheeks to make up for all the days I stupidly live 5000 miles away.

To recap: due to a new car loan, and an international surgical procedure (for which I must pay in full, in CASH, at the time of treatment), plus this huge expensive party in a few months’ time, our 2017 plans ere effectively canceled.  A vacation hiatus will give us time to knock out that car loan, and save for Spain and France in 2018 Or So Help Me, which is exactly what that particular spreadsheet will be named. I did promise my DD that we would try to send her to NJ alone to see my parents for a week next summer, so at least 1 of us will get off the rock in 2017.  This gives me an idea for a future post about Unaccompanied Minors and the airlines’ different policies on the subject…

And now, a time capsule post for 1 year now…

I’m a few weeks away from traveling to Ecuador again, much sooner than I had anticipated.  I hope my procedure goes off smoothly, and plan to do something productive with my recovery time.  I continue to look forward to the Quinceañera and hope my daughter enjoys her party.  I’ll keep on top of miles and points bonus opportunities to build up a good supply to use in Europe.  And I will always share the tips and tricks and strategies that I learn with you.  Here’s to travel planning!


Looking happy on my last trip to Ecuador…hope to look this jubilant during my next trip, too!




2 responses to “2, count ’em, 2 years of blogging under my belt

  1. Gina says:

    I am sure you will look fabulosa after your surgery and the most important: healthy and ready to party at the quinceanera👍


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